Philip Dick : 2 Agencies, 1 Confused “Android”?

His cephalic pattern taken, he found himself being led off to an equally familiar room; reflexively he began assembling his valuables for transfer. It makes no sense, he said to himself.  Who are these people? If this place has always existed, why didn’t we know about it? And why don’t they know about us? Two parallel police agencies, he said to himself; ours and this one. but never coming in contact–as far as I know–until now. Hard to believe, he thought, that this wouldn’t have happened long ago. If this is a police apparatus here; if it’s what it asserts itself to be (Dick 113)

As Rick Deckard has the inner workings of his head examined, he loses control of his surroundings and is led into the Mission Street Hall of Justice.  The narrator dives into Deckard’s thoughts through free, indirect discourse and calls to mind how nothing and no one makes sense about where he is, who he is with, and why he is just finding out about another police apparatus. Oddly enough, the room he enters is “equally familiar,” but all of its contents are foreign. He mentions how the “new” agency may not have even know about him and the other police agency, but questions even more so if he has been the only one left in the dark. He finds himself groping for questions he cannot know the answers to, which leaves the reader even more estranged to the expository setting. Also, the narrative estrangement is exciting because we can pinpoint how easily a character can snap and lose control of their reality and wonder what will happen next. The passage seems conspiratorial, but also has a near comedic sense of how limited Deckard’s worldview has been if a whole other police agency exists and he is just finding out. He finishes the passage with the conditional statement, “if it’s what it asserts itself to be” to remind one of Deckard’s deceptive and suspicious interpretation of an organization seemingly popping out of nowhere. Moreover, we are not sure if Deckard is just representing the narrative mind of a possible android with a false memory as Officer Crams jokingly says earlier.

Hint of Doubt

“In addition, no one today remembered why the war had come about or who, if anyone, had won” (Dick 15).

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick immerses the reader into a typical day in Rick Deckard’s life from the beginning of the story which may distract the reader from subtle hints of doubt. One such hint is evident in the above passage in which Rick mentions WWT. To begin with “In addition” suggests that this may be an afterthought of Rick’s which in turn can become an afterthought for the reader that can easily be forgotten. This creates a sense that this “addition” may not be that important which allows the sentence to creep in one’s mind and become just a subtle hint of doubt. Then, the narrator inserts his own thought with “if anyone” which casts the doubt that can be easily overlooked. The passage suggests that everyone, except the narrator, has accepted the fact that there was a war and that there is no need to know anything further.